The poems of Anna Margolin (1887–1952), appearing here both in the original Yiddish and in English translation.
Winner of the 2007 Yiddish Literature and Translation from Yiddish presented by the Helen and Stan Vine Annual Canadian Jewish Book Awards
2007 Runner Up of the National Jewish Book Award in Poetry
Born Rosa Lebensboym in Belarus, Anna Margolin (1887–1952) settled permanently in America in 1913. A brilliant yet largely forgotten poet, her reputation rests on her volume of poetry published in Yiddish in 1929 in New York City. Although written in the 1920s, Margolin's poetry is remarkably fresh and contemporary, dealing with themes of anxiety, loneliness, sexual tensions, and the search for intellectual and spiritual identity, all of which were clearly reflected in her own life choices. Sensitively and beautifully translated here, the poems appear both in the original Yiddish and in English translation.
Shirley Kumove's fascinating critical-biographical introduction highlights Margolin's tempestuous and unconventional life. An exceptionally beautiful and gifted woman, Margolin adopted a bohemian and an eccentric lifestyle, and threw herself into both intellectual pursuits and romantic attachments beyond her two marriages.
Shirley Kumove is a translator and writer whose work has been recognized by the Canada Council for the Arts and by the Ontario Arts Council. She is the author of Words Like Arrows and More Words, More Arrows, two collections of Yiddish folk sayings. She was born, educated, and makes her home in Toronto.
"[Margolin's] poems have a powerfully contemporary ring, dealing with spiritual identity, sensuality and depression. " — Na'amat Woman
"In this powerful collection, we are afforded a glimpse into a recklessly original mind, knee-deep in muck but scouting for divinity. " — Boston Review
"Margolin's persona poems, including those about the biblical Mary, show the range of her talent and her ability to bring the world of others to her readers; hopefully this volume will gain her an even wider audience. " — Lilith
"…one of Yiddish's most experimental and storied poets … This astounding bilingual edition presents Margolin complete for the first time in English, and for the first time in Yiddish in over fifty years. Translator, editor, and introducer Shirley Kumove has done Jewish letters an amazing service in her fine renditions, and wonderfully presented biographical and bibliographic material. Highly recommended. " — Jewish Book World
"Shirley Kumove's assiduous research, profound knowledge of Yiddish, and poetic sensibilities combine to make this a valuable and desirable contribution to the library of translated texts. " — Barbara Harshav, cotranslator of American Yiddish Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology
"This bilingual edition makes available an important body of Yiddish poetry by a major author whose concerns remain relevant today. " — Ken Frieden, editor and cotranslator of Classic Yiddish Stories of S. Y. Abramovitsh, Sholem Aleichem, and I. L. Peretz
"Drunk from the Bitter Truth is a welcome addition to the growing body of Yiddish literature published bilingually. All nuances of Margolin's complex poetry are reflected in Kumove's precise, coherent, and eloquent translation. " — Anna Shternshis, University of Toronto